Searcy City Council Passes “Son of A&P Tax”

Oh by the way, the Searcy city council passed their latest tax increase on Tuesday evening by a vote of 7-0.  Alderman Mark Derrick was not in attendance.

The 1% tax would be applied to prepared food in the city of Searcy (concession stands, delis, bakeries, all restaurants, coffee, fountain drinks, etc.).  The 1% rate can be raised to 2% or 3% at a vote of the city council.

The proposal also carries a 3% tax on lodging, which includes room rentals.  You can read the full proposal here.

The issue will be put on the November ballot before the voters of Searcy, where I predict it will get obliterated.

How will you vote?  Let us know in the comments section.

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8 comments

  1. Scott

    Technically, if the people vote it in, the ordinance can only be amended (and the tax rate increased) either by a vote of the people or a vote of 3/4 of the council.

  2. Scott

    There is a difference between “the Searcy city council passed their latest tax increase” (what you reported) and what actually happened. The reality is that the Searcy city council referred the question of a tax increase to the voters, but that doesn’t sound as scary and reprehensible as them increasing taxes without the consent of the voters (as happened in 2009 in Searcy).

    • Arkansas Patriot

      No, Scott, actually they passed a tax increase, like I reported, and it will go before the people, like I reported. It’s interesting to see you continue to carry water for them though. Do you have something to gain from the passage of this tax?

  3. Scott

    No, Nick. I don’t stand to gain one thing from either the passage or the defeat of this tax. I have not stated whether I support or oppose it (as you well know). I have been asked by folks on both side to endorse/support their position and I have thus far declined to do so. I have insisted that you and the other side both state facts, and you seem to be loathe to do so. The city council passed an ordinance calling for an election on a tax, they did not “pass a tax.”

    The tax is not in effect and can never take effect until the people enact it themselves. This is called referring the matter to the voters and is NOT the same as passing a measure themselves. This is done under 26-75-604(b) and is the only way they can dedicate the revenues to Parks and Rec as they did in this proposal.

    Please note that 26-75-604(b) says that the “electors” are the ones that levy the tax, not the city council. “When the electors of any city levy a gross receipts tax on hotels and restaurants, and the ballot dedicates the tax for the development, construction, and maintenance of city parks, the proceeds of the tax shall not be deposited into the city advertising and promotion fund but shall be deposited into a special fund to be used for the development, construction, and maintenance of city parks. The funds shall be disbursed by the mayor upon approval of the city council.”

    So, you say the city council “passed the tax,” but state law specifically says that they didn’t and it is the “electors” (some times pronounced “voters”) who levy the tax. Who should we believe?

    • Arkansas Patriot

      Thank you for keeping me honest, Scott. Your hard work is truly a service to the people of Searcy. Without you, I would probably just make stuff up.

      Believe whatever you want. You’re playing word games and I’m tired of playing them with you. I’m not doing it anymore. If you really believe the city council did not pass a tax, you’re free to feel that way. But in the end, this tax never would’ve seen the light of day if it had not been written up, proposed, and passed by the city council and then referred to the people.

      You don’t have anything to gain, huh? So Searcy Soccer isn’t going to gain one penny from this tax? You want honesty and facts, let’s talk about that. Are you still the president of Searcy Soccer?

  4. Scott

    I am simply pointing out facts. According to you, facts now equal word games. You might not like the facts because they don’t fit your narrative, but you are now using tactics worthy of your old city council opponent MAA when you deride facts as “word games.” The fact of the matter is that this tax will never pass unless a majority of the voters vote for it. That means that the city council did not pass the tax themselves (even though they had the authority to do so under state law if they so desired – as we all know from our previous battle).

    I am indeed the president of Searcy Youth Soccer Association. I would make a couple of points related to that:
    1) I have not seen or heard one project for Searcy Youth Soccer Association that has been proposed to be funded by this tax. Not one. Nothing has been promised to them (or me) and I have not asked for anything specifically because I don’t want it to even appear that there is anything untoward going on.
    2) Even if at some point in the future the city chose to fund something at the soccer complex with these tax revenues, how is that me gaining? Are you trying to claim that I am the Searcy Youth Soccer Association? That’s awfully flattering of you, but it displays a glaring lack of understanding on your part. (and my term of office as president will actually expire before one dollar of A&P tax revenue would be collected)
    3) I was actually offered the at large position on the A&P commission the last time around in an attempt to get me to play along. If I was in it for me, I would have accepted that offer.

    Go back and check the record. My position is the same today as it was in February of 2009 when the last A&P debate started (and when I had no children playing soccer or any other sport and was not involved with any organizations such as this). I said then that I might support the tax if it was placed before the people but that if they imposed it themselves I would oppose it and willingly lead the fight against them (and I did). I say again today that if they had done it the wrong way I would have gladly led the fight against them and that since they are dong it the right way I might support it. Just because my position has never matched yours don’t assume that my position has changed. (and since I don’t recall you being there and speaking against the tax and/or process at that first public hearing, you might want to verify with Randall Young or Carl Nutter or Dale Brewer or Mary Ann Arnett or Steve Sterling or Warren Watkins or Belinda LaForce that this was indeed my position from the very beginning)

    Wait, let me do a little research for you. Here is the last line from a note I sent to the city council in early February 2009:
    “Once again, I reiterate that I am not necessarily against this tax, I am against the thought of this tax being imposed without a vote of the people.” Hey, that sounds awfully familiar. Sounds like what I am saying today. Maybe you can convince folks who are uninterested in facts that I have changed my position, but it is a documented FACT that I have not.

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